When St. Polycarp's blended team, the ed tech director from the Diocese of Orange, the principal, and two teachers decided to move to a blended learning model, we observed a couple schools who were blending. The one most attractive to us was a school with a station rotation model utilizing two groups: teacher group and digital group. Although to us it felt a bit "sterile," we felt it was the easiest model to begin with immediately. First of all, it forced us to "redesign" the traditional environment; a couple things we agreed upon - no front of the classroom, adaptive programs, and more than two stations to a 4 C's activity (creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking) (-http Second, it reminded us of primary "centers" that we were all familiar with to get us going.
Ambiguity. We had two 1:1 classrooms in 2014; one room with a first year teacher (grade 4) and one room with a 15+ years teachers (grade 5). The teachers met each week with the Ed Tech director and principal where it seemed that most of what was discussed was "what wasn't working." We knew this would be part of the process, but what we came to discover is we had to let go of "control" and allow the ambiguity to drive the ship. That is very difficult for A-type teacher personalities, so these meetings were the cornerstone of how the team was able to move forward and build the program from two classrooms to ten.
The administration has to be on board.
Getting started with blended learning: St. Polycarp School had the unique opportunity to redesign a school from the ground up by implementing Blended Learning within one year's time. We are now part of the ABLE (fellow model) as a "go to" school to help new educators learn about blended through observations, trainings, and PLC's.
Use of space/time in the classroom: St. Polycarp has been innovative with time and space in the process of implementing the blended learning model. We are working with block scheduling, modular scheduling, and cross-grade level integration.
St. Polycarp School holds the blessing of being a small school with a huge heart and strong community. With a hand-selected faculty, the latest programs and technology, and the philosophy of engaging students at his or her own level in an environment most conducive to the world they will enter as adults, St. Polycarp School brinks on the edge of the most progressive educational learning environment in our 21st Century.
Everyday, we begin our day with prayers, pledges, and assembly sharing our learning expectations of the week and gospel reading for the following Sunday mass.
Classes are non-traditional in design where the students engage in independent work, collaborative groups, adaptive technology programs, hands-on learning in creating, exploration, and discovery and small group time with the teacher in all core subjects everyday. Meeting students where they are at and creating the best ways for students to learn does not happen occasionally, it happens everyday. Students are learning to establish autonomy within their learning beginning at four years old through our blended learning model where students of all levels can learn simultaneously in the same inclusive classroom.
Contact: Alison Daley
Contact Title: Principal
St. Polycarp Catholic School
8182 Chapman Ave.